The human skin is the outer covering of the body. It is constituted by multiple layers:
The epidermis is formed by multi-layered sheets whose differentiated structure functions as the front line of the skin's defense against the insults of the outside world.
The main functions of the skin organ is to not let bacteria, harmful substances and UV sun radiation from getting into the body, and to keep everything inside your body in, including moisture.
When a superficial damage occurs to the epidermis or the dermis, we have a wound (or lesion), that may be either acute (heals properly at a predictable and expected rate) or chronic (does not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time).
A chronic wound does not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time, since the skin has lost the capacity to reconstruct its anatomical and functional integrity. Specifically, the vast majority of chronic wounds can be classified into the following categories:
The aetiology of wounds is often multifactorial in nature and all of the factors need to be addressed, since an unrecognized and untreated acute wound can develop into a chronic wound. Chronic wounds can be incredibly painful and debilitating, and affect the patient’s quality of life.
The management of chronic wounds requires a huge amount of resources and have a relatively high impact on national healthcare expenditures.
Specifically, it is estimated that 1.5% to 3% of the total population in developed countries are affected by chronic wounds, such as ulcers of vascular origin, pressure ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers. The incidence of this disorder is related to advancing age and a sharp rise in diabetes, obesity and cardio-vascular disorders, and it is predictable to expect an increase in total healthcare expenditure in the future.
International economical analyses have shown that the use of dressings that help achieve a rapid wound healing is beneficial for the patient, and may represent a useful tool to reduce the cost burden to the healthcare systems.
These dressings contain also hyaluronic acid (HA) or its derivative HYAFF (hyaluronic acid benzyl ester), a novel biomaterial based on modified hyaluronic acid, with sustained release properties. These advanced, bioactive dressings provide a moist hyaluronic acid-enriched environment which is supportive of the healing process, stimulate biological reactions in the cell and extracellular matrix (ECM) and promote the release of substances/factors affecting each stage of wound healing.
Due to the complexity of the tissue repair process, as well as to the increasing number and types of currently available dressings, the diagnostic/therapeutic approach, particularly to chronic lesions, shall consider a systematic and analytic strategy in order to best treat and manage the patient, improving outcomes whilst using fewer resources.
Advanced Wound Care (AWC) defines the use of advanced dressings and technologies to promote a moist wound healing of both acute and chronic cutaneous lesions or wounds.